Alexi Torres is an artist from Cuba, known for his oil paintings that are drawn to appear as if they were knitted and woven. He is inspired by everyday, organic objects, eg. leaves, feathers, basket weavings, cloth etc. and driven by his love for nature and spirituality. For more of his works visit www.alexitorres.com.
My works are an answer to my appreciation of humanity’s needs. Individual’s positive actions become collective achievement. Understanding this, I use the canvas platform to offer my vision of a spiritual healing. I reconstruct iconic images that represent both classic and modern times from all branches of human development; arts, politics, science, sports, education, military among others. I do this by changing the context of the initial forms into ecological, fragile, ephemeral and natural elements; leaves, weaving, feathers and other elements formed in nature. With each element carefully constructed, I create a new image.
Experiencing new responsibilities with my surroundings, my world view change and the target of my works with it, I see Earth and all its life forms integrated as one. It is inspired by wisdom and philosophy throughout the ages, projecting into the future. These basic, earthly elements are readily available. The intricate patterns and details in the paintings show the fulfillment that we find in basic organic elements; on how we are all interconnected with each other and with nature, in a spiritual and physical level. We need each other to evolve positively. The past influences the present and the present influences the future. I used universal laws in the realization process of my works; I build the stretcher, stretch and prime the canvas, then start and finish each work on the waning moon. This is like my father and his ancestors have done in their harvesting. It is my way of planting an idea and completing it, working with the universal forces and laws, applying it to each painting. The paintings act in the viewers’ consciences, creating a reflection in the way in which people absorb my works. Remaking classic images, such as an historic moment, a building or an icon that is well known, while changing the concept, becomes a proposal to society of how to see established ideas in a new way. It softens and spiritualizes the original image, giving you a fresh and possible new perception of live, and a better self.
Whom do you look up to?
I look up to ancient philosophers because they have a way of explaining the simple truths of life. I also admire contemporary artists like Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, and some Cuban artists.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
My father was the biggest influence because my mother died before my ninth birthday, and he raised me all by himself. He was always supportive of my art career. Spirituality has influenced me as I have learned more about Universal Truth in New Thought Philosophy. The United States has been so wonderful to me. Immigrating here has been the biggest boost to my life because I have the freedom to travel anywhere, to say what I think, and to live as I please.
How did your art career start?
I always have been drawing since I was a child. Early in life I knew that I would be an artist because I’ve always had a different perception of reality.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I am hardworking and I love life.
What was your favourite project and why?
The newest series I am doing, about Large Cakes, is my favorite project because I am concentrating on celebrating important spritual themes such as Gratitude, Forgiveness, Acceptance, and Oneness.
Quotes and Wisdoms
How do you define creativity?
The ability to see more than your five senses and interpret this, and give a new message to it in a physical form.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
Being is more important than Doing, because only the being that you bring into your doing is what really matters (Eckhart Tolle).
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
The biggest turning point in my life and career was when I emigrated in 2003. I had to learn English, a new culture, and a new worldview. It was a growing time for me the first few years.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Follow your passion in life and do what you were born to do.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
That we are all one and really connected, and the world is a big, diverse place…communism is not all there is.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
No, Art is in me and I exist because I am a creator. That will never change.
All images © Alexi Torres